From the Blog

Making Up New Stuff

Last week was craptacular. There was a giant earthquake in an impoverished nation, democracy in America is about to be pwned by corporations, and I had to renounce my Massachusetts heritage. And I finally followed up on a stomach bug that I may have acquired waaay back, like, forever ago, like on this trip back in July 2009. I finally, finally went to the doctor. Because I haven’t been “right” since. I went to the doctor, and she took lots of notes, and I had to take a bunch of tests, and well, I’m getting to know myself much more than I ever wanted to. Craptacular.

Last week, I should have followed my own advice and taken a “news vacation.” But no, I don’t listen to my own advice, even though I am incredibly smart. And also good looking. Why don’t I listen to me? I read this article about the declining freelance writing market, and a follow up article about how the markets for photography and graphic design are also undergoing a fundamental shift, meaning, they are going down the toilet. Writing, graphic design, photography. A bunch of things I’d rather be doing just got a lot harder to do.

The gist of the two articles is that media is now instantly and abundantly available. Which is great. There are many good things about this. I don’t need to go into detail, we all know the internet kicks ass. However, quality, depth, thoughtfulness and originality used to have high value. Now speed, brevity, stock photography and “info lite” are good enough. Our media consumption has turned into fast food, and in many cases, junk food. It’s mostly junk. There is good stuff out there, but the incentive is toward low quality, not high quality. Originality and real creativity all take too much time and effort. The fake stuff is just fine for mass consumption.

Of course, being “creative” is still a valuable trait in just about any job or profession. But in a professional sense, “being creative” means being a “problem solver” or “building interesting spreadsheets.” In the best of times, real creative endeavors, traditional arts, photography, design, writing, or *gasp* poetry, seem to need justification for any type of “value.” Economic “value.” In bad times, you are likely to be ridiculed and disdained for trying to make a living from art.

“Dear Tenderhearted Artist,
If you want to eat, take up plumbing.
Love, The Economy.”

Does it sound like I am fretting? I am. I’m fretting. I believe we are still in the Wild West of the internet. Old media is dying, but it’s going somewhere. I believe we will soon see more newspapers put up pay walls, as the New York Times recently announced. Perhaps Internet 3.0 will have more subscriptions for news, for videos, and TV shows. You know how much time I spend on the New York Times? The Los Angeles Times? The Boston Globe? A whole fricken lot. I sure do love getting it for free, but I can’t imagine how long that will last. If the big media outlets start charging for online access, we’ll get used to the idea. It will become convention.

Back to fretting though. I don’t want to be an accountant for the rest of my goddamned life! You hear me? I don’t want to be a soulless, brain eating accounting zombie! Goddamnit! I want to do all those things, those artsy, creative things, that are even more under valued than ever. It was hard enough before.

The new models are coming. I for one, will welcome them.

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